Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they will not retry Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., on corruption charges, acknowledging which recent court rulings left them that has a weakened case.
Prosecutors also sought inside same filing in completely new Jersey federal court to dismiss the remaining charges against Dr. Salomon Melgen, the Florida eye doctor accused of bribing Menendez with pricey trips along with donations in order to obain political favors.
The decision to drop the case came almost exactly all 5 years to the day which FBI agents raided Melgen’s office as part of the probe of his relationship with Menendez.
The move also came more than two months after Menendez’s first trial on those charges ended in a mistrial when jurors deadlocked on a verdict — along with just two weeks after prosecutors said they planned to retry him. Their motion filed Wednesday asks a judge to dismiss the indictment pending against both Menendez along with Melgen.
Menendez, in a prepared statement, said, “by the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence along with my belief which justice would certainly prevail.”
“I am grateful which the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case along with come to the appropriate conclusion. I thank God for hearing my prayers along with for giving me strength during This particular difficult time,” the senator said.
“I have devoted my life to serving the people of completely new Jersey, along with am forever thankful for all who have stood by me. No matter the challenges ahead, I will never stop fighting for completely new Jersey along with the values we share.”
Menendez can be a heavy favorite to win re-election in November to a third term inside Senate, where Republicans hold a slim, 51-49 majority.
The Justice Department, in a statement explaining its decision to drop the case, cited an order last week by trial Judge William Walls, who declared Menendez not guilty of seven counts inside indictment lodged against the 64-year-old senator. The judge said a 2016 Supreme Court ruling had undercut a large part of the prosecutors’ theory inside case.
The judge’s ruling left 11 counts pending against Melgen along with Menendez.
Justice officials also Wednesday cited limitations placed by the judge on the evidence which would certainly be admissible at a retrial.
“Given the impact of the Court’s Jan. 24 Order on the charges along with the evidence admissible in a retrial, the United States has determined which This particular will not retry the defendants on the remaining charges,” said a Justice Department spokeswoman.
In their own court filing Wednesday, lawyers for Menendez along with Melgen said they did not object to the prosecutors’ motion to dismiss the indictment.
however defense lawyers asked the judge to dismiss all of the remaining charges “with prejudice,” which would certainly bar prosecutors by ever attempting to bring Menendez along with Melgen to trial for the same conduct which was the subject of This particular case. The judge has yet to rule on the motion to dismiss filed by prosecutors, however his approval can be all however guaranteed.
Abbe Lowell, Menendez’s lawyer, said in a statement, “In light of the results of a three month trial, all the jury said along with the granting of our motion for acquittal on significant counts, we are pleased along with grateful which the Justice Department made the right decision to end This particular case.”
“Despite the all 5 years of This particular ordeal, Senator Menendez never wavered in his innocence along with his commitment to the people of completely new Jersey. We were fortunate to be able to assist This particular honorable man,” Lowell said.
Menendez was accused of accepting favors by Melgen, which allegedly included a dozen flights on the doctor’s private jet to a resort inside Dominican Republic, a three-night stay in a pricey Paris Hotel, along with more than $700,000 in political contributions to both the senator along with the Democratic Party.
Prosecutors claimed which Melgen, in return for his largesse, got help by Menendez in obtaining visas for girlfriends of the doctor.
Menendez also helped a Melgen-owned firm get a contract worth millions of dollars for port security inside Dominican Republic, along with also pressured federal regulators in connection with their inquiry into alleged Medicare overbilling by Melgen, prosecutors said.
Kirk Ogrosky, Melgen’s lawyer, in an emailed statement, said, “all 5 years ago … FBI agents started out This particular misguided case along with destroyed our client’s life when they raided his West Palm Beach medical office.”
“Dr. Melgen can be right now, along with has always been, innocent of the charges brought in completely new Jersey,” Ogrosky said. “He has never given anything to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, his best friend of over 20 years, with any expectation of getting anything in return. We are also grateful for the Court’s defense of the First Amendment when issuing its recent order of acquittals.”
“We take no pleasure in seeing justice done so late in a case which should never have been filed. however justice today can be certainly better than justice delayed if the prosecution had pushed the remaining counts forward, into what would certainly have been an inevitable acquittal. We trust which the Department of Justice lives up to its name along with never brings This particular type of meritless case again.”